New 3-D interconnection technology for future wearable bioelectronics

phys.org | 6/27/2019 | Staff
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IBS scientists developed stretchable metal composites and 3-D printed them on soft substrates at room temperature. By enabling ever-slimmer 3-D interconnects, this study can help to revolutionize the physical appearance of smart gadgets, in addition to reinforcing their technical functions.

It seems the days are gone when just tossing a smart watch on your wrist makes you look cool. The wearable biotech industry has recently revealed its insatiable hunger for futuristic items. Pain relief goggles that monitor brain waves, vital sign monitoring stickers, and even mind reading glasses. They are just few of the latest items discussed at the 2019 Wearable Tech, Digital Health, and Neurotech Silicon Valley conferences. Not to be sure whether all of these wearable prototypes can catch on, but one thing is clear: there are more to come in the field of wearable technology. This great potential has been, however, held back by a technical restraint: these wearables have never really felt "wearable" to their users.

Skin - Wearer - Devices - Data - Capabilities

Though they were supposed to feel like a second skin of the wearer, it has been technically impossible to devise "wearable" devices that are comfortable to bend and stretch and also keep good data recording capabilities on soft and curved skin. Wearable smart devices gather a person's bio measurements by connecting electrodes to the surface of the skin. Inside the device are 3-D-shaped electrode wirings (i.e. interconnects) that transmit electrical signals. To date, not only can the wirings only be formed on a hard surface, but also the components of such interconnects delicate and hardly-stretchable metals such as gold, copper, and aluminum. In a paper published today in the journal Nano Letters, the joint research team led by Prof. Jang-Ung Park at the Center for Nanomedicine within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in Daejeon, South Korea, and Prof. Chang Young Lee...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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